Vilardi pots hat trick, Jets clinch playoff spot with 5-2 win over Flames

For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, the Winnipeg Jets have clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Gabriel Vilardi scored a hat trick and the Jets (46-24-6) beat the Calgary Flames 5-2 at Canada Life Centre Thursday night to end their five-game homestand on a two-game winning streak.

Winnipeg becomes the fourth team in the Western Conference to secure a playoff berth.

After going down 1-0 early thanks to a MacKenzie Weegar goal, the Jets bounced back with two goals later in the period, one from Vilardi on the power play and another from Nikolaj Ehlers, his 23rd of the season.

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The Flames tied it in the second on a Daniil Miromanov goal, but the Jets struck again with the man advantage before the intermission as Tyler Toffoli scored his 31st of the campaign.

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Vilardi added two more in the third period for his hat-trick, giving him 20 goals on the season

Ehlers had an assist along with his goal, while Josh Morrissey picked up a pair of assists for Winnipeg. Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the victory in net.

The Jets remain third in the Central Division, four points back of the Colorado Avalanche, who also won Thursday, and still six points clear of Nashville.

Winnipeg now hits the road for four straight games, beginning Saturday afternoon in Minnesota against the Wild. The pregame show begins at 1 p.m. on 680 CJOB with puck drop just after 3 p.m.

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